Friday, 28 December 2007

Beijing Smog

Beijing was immersed in smog for a marathon three or so days till this afternoon, and I thought I'd take a picture of how it looked compared with a clear day earlier in the month that I blogged about over here. There's a lot of schandenfreude in the Western Press over (well over anything Chinese actually) the smog in Beijing in the run up to the Olympics, along with less helpful suggestions that restricting the traffic will have an impact. It doesn't! The smog occurs over the weekends too. It looks very much like its the smokestack industries to the west of Beijing that are responsible for all this. The ones that made the remote controlled toy helicopters you secured for Christmas or filled up the Christmas crackers with plastic toys. Well you know how I feel about buying pointless shit.

I'm quite sure they will restrict these offending polluters around the time of the Beijing Olympics to make sure that our international visitors have a good time, and leave with a postive impression. Before the 15 million of us who live here can get back to doing what we do best. Cleaning the air by breathing it in with our lungs, and making the it sparkle and clean like below.

What I find most daunting is that things are unlikely to change in the short term. China is under pressure to reduce its trade imbalance with the U.S. and all the other countries that consume its vast output at morally questionable prices, I talked about over here. How are they going to do this? Well, part of the answer is that China will subsidise those TV's, personal computers, washing machines, air conditioners and domestically produced mobile phones to its rural/low tier city constituency before it asks the West for something in return. That last article slipped by a lot of people in the mobile phone business. It was released in the Indian press first just before the Christmas break.